Author Affiliation, Ana.
Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies
Economic deprivation and private adjustments: The case of security guards in Jamaica
Social and economic studies
Date of Publication
The provision of paid labour is considered an essential strategy for poverty reduction. This paper argues that paid labour with low wages does not reduce an individual's vulnerability and susceptibility to life below the poverty line. Using a vulnerability-assets framework, the author examines the quality of life and living conditions of security guards in Jamaica. An asset is not enough to reduce one's vulnerability. The quality of the asset owned is even more important. For example, a significant number of security guards owned their houses, but the quality of the house was questionable. Most of them had very poor houses in crime-ridden areas. All the assets put forward by the 'vulnerability framework' did not share equal value. For example, the security guards emphasized the need for health insurance and private transportation. The qualitative data revealed that these low-wage earners are economically deprived and have to employ many private strategies to reduce their vulnerability. A most significant finding, was the low dependence on the state and the importance of their own social networks in their poverty alleviation. Social capital and social networking proved to be key in coping with their vulnerability.....